The MeiGray Group announced on Twitter that their auctions of various NWHL items secured $9,912.53 over the course of the 2018-19 season.
We are thrilled to announce that our @NWHL auctions raised almost $10,000 during the 2018-19 season! Thanks to the @Riveters, @TheBostonPride, @WhitecapsHockey and @CTWhale_NWHL, as well as @kfitzy94, $7,153.33 went to @YouCanPlayTeam! pic.twitter.com/sHqmxGvXNZ— The MeiGray Group (@MeiGray) April 25, 2019
Of the amounts raised through the auctions, $7,153.33 went to the You Can Play Project, designed to “ensure equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation and/or gender identity” per their mission statement. The auctions were comprised of specialty game-worn and/or autographed jerseys bearing the rainbow pride design from the Boston Pride, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters and Minnesota Whitecaps.
Donations were bolstered by an immense bidding war for Riveters netminder Katie Fitzgerald’s autographed You Can Play-themed mask. The former Isobel Cup champ’s mask garnered 46 different bids, including several that came in the waning minutes of the auction. It eventually sold for $4,390. The mask was worn during a 3-2 Riveters loss to the Buffalo Beauts in which Fitzgerald stopped 25 of 28 shots.
The auction was extended for nearly an hour as bidders went back and forth vying for the mask, according to MeiGray. Like other online auction companies, a bid placed within the final five minutes resets the five-minute countdown. This enables a back-and-forth among bidders, simulating a live auction, the company explained.
“We were excited from the start because helmets are very popular as a collectible. They’re unique,” said Barry Meisel, COO and President of MeiGray, in an interview with The Ice Garden. “We knew it could go for a good number. Were we thrilled and surprised that it went for $4,390? Yes. Happily surprised.”
Meisel credited strong social media promotion from Fitzgerald, You Can Play, and the team as well as taking the helmet to Nashville for the All-Star game for people to see as helping boost the auction.
“Charity auctions are great because people like to give,” Meisel explained. “It’s win-win for everybody. The mask was beautiful. It was well done. It was the best of win win win all worlds colliding.”
Other notable bids included Minnesota forward Kendall Coyne Schofield’s game-worn You Can Play jersey, which fetched $1,040 over 27 bids. Meisel said that the popularity of Coyne Schofield’s name definitely helped her jersey hit a high mark, but that the entire Whitecaps You Can Play lot sold very well. He noted that Amanda Boulier’s jersey sold for $700 and Lee Stecklein and Amy Menke’s jerseys both hit $600.
Among other high performing jerseys the company said stood out were Riveters forward Madison Packer’s autographed game-worn You Can Play jersey, which netted $600 over 15 bids, and Amanda Kessel’s for $540. Fitzergald’s YCP jersey also went for $520.
Additionally, $2,759.20 was raised for Do it for Daron at the Royal, a Canadian-based organization benefiting youth mental health. MeiGray auctioned off special purple-and-white warm-up jerseys from the Boston Pride’s home game against the Minnesota Whitecaps on March 2. Once again, Coyne Schofield’s item proved to be the hottest commodity, with her signed jersey garnering $260 over six bids.
Boston’s Alyssa Gagliardi and Gigi Marvin tied for second with their sweaters selling for $220 each.
The Pride have held four annual “DIFD Night” games in their four seasons of operation, with the veteran blueliner Gagliardi serving as a spokesperson and champion for the event.
MeiGray has been working with the league for three seasons now and has noticed a positive upward trend. “We can tell from the numbers and the number of bidders and the excitement that the league the interest in the league is growing. These collectibles are more popular than ever.”